In the final regular meeting of June, Maryville City Council members unanimously approved $500,000 in two capital fund increases to deal with engineering plans and installation of a bridge on Big Springs Road.

The road is one of a few entrances to what the city calls Laurel Branch Park, a mostly empty 79 acres across West Lamar Alexander Parkway from DENSO, Universal Logistics and Foothills Church.

Maryville sold several parcels of land there in 2021 and has a kind of sale commitment from Seefried Industrial Properties which, according to recent reporting from The Daily Times, may build an Amazon distribution center on the Robert C. Jackson Drive extension.

City officials haven’t publicly confirmed or denied the Amazon project, but council notes state sale of land and development is expected to happen quickly.

As of Wednesday, no official sale of land had been published by the Blount County Register of Deeds office indicating Seefried bought the 44 acres it wanted from the city, though the city agreed to the sale in January.

Now leaders are dedicating capital funds for an engineering assessment on Big Springs Road — a $100,000 increase in the fund — and installation of the Laurel Bank Bridge on Big Spring Road — a $400,000 increase — though the bridge installation is set to cost a total $731,615, according to council notes.

Maryville Finance Director Mike Swift told council members though this was a steep cost, it also was the low bid estimate.

“As we have experienced in the last year, construction costs have skyrocketed, primarily due to the pandemic and shortage of materials and supplies,” officials explained in notes on the spending move. “It is important to get this bridge open as soon as possible with all of the development that is being done in the immediate area this year.”

Big Springs Road is one of a few entrances to the area where Amazon and other businesses may set up shop in the coming years.

Maryville already has bought the bridge, a prefabricated structure, and installation work will begin soon.

The bridge was closed in 2019.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation assessed the Big Springs Road bridge then, finding portions of the current structure were cracked.

“We hated that bids came in so much over budget,” Swift told council, noting the next highest installation bid after the $731,615 was more than $1 million.

In other business Tuesday, council members:

• Approved on first reading adopting the 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

• Approved on first reading 2021-22 fiscal year budget fund totals for grant, school construction, city capital projects and equipment replacements.

• Approved on first reading the 2021-22 fiscal year budget for Maryville City Schools.

• Approved on first reading abandoning an alley between Ellis Avenue and High Street.

• Approved on first reading rezoning property at 496 Ellis Ave. to the Washington Street Corridor District.

• Approved on first reading rezoning property at 938 Celtic Road to the Industrial District.

• Approve authorization of the 2021 Summer on Broadway event, set for 5 p.m. June 25 to 11 p.m. June 26.

• Approved establishing a 25 mph speed limit for the Cross Creek, Knightsbridge and Oxford Hills subdivisions.

• Approved extending a 35 mph speed limit zone for Montvale Road from near Shannondale Way to Bellwood Drive.

• Approved decreasing the city’s vesting requirements in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System from 10 years to five years.

• Approved declaring fire hydrant parts as surplus.

• Approved an ordinance allowing Education Networks of America to lease dark fiber from the city.

Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from city government reporter Andrew Jones.

Andrew joined The Daily Times in 2019 and covers city government and breaking news.

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